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Better support across government

Today we’ve published the latest quarterly progress report about the work we’ve been doing with departments on the Government Digital Strategy.  It highlights how we have turned our attention to improving services we provide to support departments moving to digital by default ways of working.

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‘Government as a data model’ : what I learned in Estonia

I’ve just got back from a few days in the Republic of Estonia, looking at how they deliver their digital services and sharing stories of some of the work we are up to here in the UK. We have an ongoing agreement with the Estonian government to work together and share knowledge and expertise, and that is what brought me to the beautiful city of Tallinn.

Toompea Castle and Tallinn Old Town

I knew they were digitally sophisticated. But even so, I wasn’t remotely prepared for what I learned. Read more

GDS goes to Cabinet

This morning I attended the weekly meeting of Cabinet ministers at Number 10. I was there to share more about what we’re up to at GDS – and right across the civil service – to make government services simpler, clearer and faster.

We talked about what GOV.UK has already achieved in just a year, how things like the performance platform and the transformation programme are demonstrating the potential of the single domain.

Most encouraging for me though was hearing from ministers just how strongly the principles behind our work have resonated with them. The questions they asked all came from the perspective of ‘What does this mean for users? How does it meet their needs?’

Starting with the needs of users has led to a radical shift in the way we build and provision government services. That’s a huge thing. It means an end to big IT, it means smarter and cheaper services which meet users needs, and it means digital sitting at the heart of teams all around government. Read more

GDS this week

This week we have three quick updates on work that’s been going on at GDS recently. Brij Thakrar talks about how we’re training people to write for GOV.UK, Allon Lister introduces the Carer’s Allowance public beta and Amy Whitney explains how we’re updating tools for businesses on GOV.UK.

Follow Brij, Allon and Amy on Twitter:

Brij @TickThak

Allon @allonlister

Amy @amosie

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Expats: help us test a new service


EDIT: In response to the comments we have received we thought it would be helpful to explain up-front that we will be extending our testing so people will be able to take part wherever they live around the world when our work is more developed.


We need your help to test one of our services.

One goal of the Individual Electoral Registration project is to allow people to register online at GOV.UK. We hope that the new service will make it easier for overseas voters in particular to register and exercise their voting rights.

We are now looking for expats to try out a prototype of the new service, to see how well it works for them and to see how we can improve it.

Find out more about how you can help

This week at GDS

This week, Kathy Settle, Director of Digital Policy and Departmental Engagement, looks back on GOV.UK’s one year birthday and talks about the public beta release of the Carers Allowance service.

Follow Kathy on twitter: @Kathy_Settle Read more

New guidance for government devices

Last week GDS helped launch new guidance for securely using 11 common desktop and mobile operating systems in public sector organisations. CESG (the UK government’s National Technical Authority for information assurance) have led this, working closely with the team in the Office of the CTO.

The CESG advice builds upon our joint End User Device Security Framework which we published as part of the CTO series in the Service Design Manual in June this year. Read more

How many people are missing out on JavaScript enhancement?

A few weeks back, we were chatting about the architecture of the Individual Electoral Registration web service.  We started discussing the pros and cons of an approach that would provide a significantly different interaction for any people not running JavaScript.

“What proportion of people is that?” an inquisitive mind asked.


We didn’t really have any idea how many people are experiencing UK government web services without the enhancement of JavaScript. That’s a bad thing for a team that is evangelical about data driven design, so I thought we should find out.

The answer is:

1.1% of people aren’t getting JavaScript enhancements (1 in 93).

That’s not the whole story though. Read more.

Dashboard for the Lasting Power of Attorney transaction released

This week we released a performance dashboard for the service to get a lasting power of attorney – a complicated transaction which is pushing and pulling our dashboards into new areas.

Are you, like me, worried about your ongoing capacity to make decisions? Then you might want to create a lasting power of attorney – a legal document which lets you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you fall ill or become incapacitated.

Having checked with my manager, it turns out that nominating an attorney to make all my work decisions for me ‘would not be appropriate’, but I am delighted to say that on Monday we launched a performance dashboard for the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) service run by the Office of the Public Guardian.

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GOV.UK turned one today

It’s been a busy week at GDS, but this afternoon we took a few minutes out to celebrate the first birthday of GOV.UK.

I wrote a bit this morning on the Inside GOV.UK blog about what the year has meant for the team.

Elsewhere people like Dai, Adam Bye from FCO, Gemma Daly at MOJ, Tim Lloyd from BIS and others have written about their experiences over the last year – what’s worked, what we can improve, what’s coming next. Read more